Plaquemines Parish deputies return caskets to graves … hopefully for good

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PLAQUEMINES PARISH (WGNO) – Hurricane Isaac left many people in lower Plaquemines Parish without a home.  And for many of them, their loved ones also lost their final resting spots.

After the storm passed, Plaquemines deputies counted 194 caskets that were removed from their grave sites by floodwaters.

In the six months since the storm, they used written records, GPS, and even the FACES Lab at LSU to help identify and return most of the caskets to their proper locations.

“We are so relieved to know she’s back where she wanted to be,” said Netoikee Hill while looking at her mother’s grave.  Hills grandmother and great-grandfather were also buried in the Promise Land Cemetery and had to be returned to their proper locations.

“My great-grandfather was a private in World War I.  That’s important,” Hill said.

Plaquemines Parish deputies had to return coffins to grave sites after Hurricane Katrina as well.  So this time, they’re trying a new idea to keep the caskets in place.

They’re using metal ties to keep the caskets in place.  Deputies say they got the idea after seeing a similar technique used to hold down mobile homes.

The deputies also included identification on the coffins in the event they’re washed away again.

But 60 of the coffins remain unclaimed by family members and unidentified.  So the PPSO is asking people who buried loved ones in the Promise Land, English Turn, and Bertrandville Cemeteries to check on the grave sites and contact deputies if something looks awry.

“We’re asking the family if they have photographs of their loved ones when they were buried, or if they know the specific dress or suit or clothing that they were wearing,” Commander Eric Becnel said while at the Promised Land Cemetery Tuesday morning.